At first, clearing woodlots to make way for wind turbines in Barre seems unrelated to erecting a convenience store within what amounts to an historic district in the Town of Gaines.
But how different are they?
First, in different ways, each threatens something that makes Orleans County special. We collectively possess considerable habitat diversity. Is destroying it to allow today’s version of what will eventually become the abandoned oil derricks of the future wise? Why would we want to make the lush landscape of the Town of Barre look more like Roscoe, Texas? This ironically comes as we approach 2020! Many of us will be gone before the “chickens” come home to roost, but future generations will be left with the consequences.
History is another extremely valuable asset in Orleans County.
We won’t get any “do-overs” where the de facto Cobblestone Historic District is concerned either. Convenience store ventures in the midst of numerous quaint, historically significant, 1830’s Greek Revival vernacular-style buildings, constructed, in part, with lake-washed cobbles doesn’t make sense to me. How wise was it to build the ghastly Orleans County Jail on the otherwise magnificent Courthouse Square in Albion? Modern, it was; appropriate, it was not—at least as I see it.
When we have a choice, why not allow history to help us avoid repeating the mistakes made by earlier generations? After all, this is not a dress rehearsal. It is “the show”. We won’t get any second chances.